I Want to Know What You Ache for...

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

“…”I want to know if you can dance with wildness. Image: Hudson Hintze

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

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terry coe
2 years ago


Jo McDonnell
4 years ago

This poem moves me so much – to tears at times. I think the questions apply to us all through times in our lives. It takes great strength and courage to face up to our fears and perceived failings . Yet if we are to truly ‘live’ and find our individual greatness and purpose then we need to lose the fear that limits us all so – and follow our hearts. ‘ Don’t die with the music inside you’

Joyce M Sheldon
5 years ago

I have always found this the most beautiful “song” of authenticity and grace. I have used these words in workshops on self-awareness and personal growth. So grateful to Oriah for giving these words to the world.

6 years ago

What do you say to those whose pain is so great, they cannot sit with it? And what do you say those who have been beaten down so often, they cannot dance with ecstasy brimming to the end of their fingers and toes? What do you say? I’ll wait.

6 years ago

I am awed. Thank you

Jona Moore Keeton
6 years ago

First the model frame work of this piece is taken from poet David Whyte and he should be given credit for it. Infact it would be lovely to hear this version read aloud by him as he does his version of the model on his CD.

6 years ago


6 years ago

Beautifully said!

7 years ago

and when I tell you that i can answer these questions, what will you share with me……?

don silvester
7 years ago

I love Huma, despite the fact she is a sand knee gir

Tyler Spruill Kuelbs
7 years ago

WOW!!! This is quite possibly the most incredible poem about relationships I’ve ever read!! That includes the relationship we have with ourselves!!! Absolutely brilliant!!! Thank you for sharing your amazing gift and setting my soul on fire!

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